I keep saying that I am not a horror reader. However, I am trying to go outside my comfort zone in reading, and that would include horror and manga. And guess what? Be Very Afraid of Kanako Inuki! is both. Not only are there several stories within this collection, Inuki (author and illustrator) has extras at the end talking about influences, an interview with them from several years ago, things that scare her, manga that they read and much more. There is also (at the start) a list of characters that you will find in the book. (Or at least a few main ones). There is an introduction to each story, and what honorifics would be used.
These are horror stories first and foremost. However, some are mental thriller-horror as well as horror-horror. Some might not make sense to you, others will gross you out, some you might find totally inappropriate. However, there is something for everyone. But again, These Are Horror Stories!!!! and feel terribly true to Japanese culture, attitudes, and the world of manga (as I understand it).
I am giving this a two because the art in several creeped me out. I understand the author/illustrator is trying to show us “this person is: bad, crazy, evil, etc.” but I did not need the maniacal huge teeth, slobber all over, mouth wider than the entire body look, hair in ways that look like greasy horns. And frankly some of the people are just downright ugly externally and internally. At times I thought I was looking at some magazine that was influenced by the 1930s or 1940s cartoons but in some “under the bed/hidden book” of an adult and I wasn’t supposed to be reading them. Or they could be a bit perverted. However, if you know manga, manga horror, or the author/illustrator they could be tame. This is my first time with the author, and while I have done some other horror (even manga) each one has been different. The only color is the cover, and everything else is black and white, which adds to the oddness.
However, it probably is more of a 2.5 or low three as some stories were strong and have a message that is relatable (youth and beauty are themes in several, as are friendships). One of the influences of the author was Junji Ito and at least one story I thought resembled one I had read in Ito’s Deserter, before realizing their influence on the author.
TRIGGER Warnings: nudity, child nudity, violence, bullying, among others.